March 23, 2001
Hon. John Manley
Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Fax 996 3443
The Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation recognizes that the current situation in Ukraine is confounding progress in Canada Ukraine relations. As one of the biggest supporters for the expansion of close ties between the two countries, we are very concerned with the recent events in Ukraine and appalled by the apparent disregard for basic freedoms by the current government. Furthermore, we are aware that business is more reluctant than ever to enter a market where the opportunity for greater reform and good government is being impeded by political scandal.
Nevertheless, we remain devoted to progress between the two countries and in the immediate term do not endorse any lessening of Canada's commitment to Ukraine despite the Presidential crisis. Nontheless, we urge you to use your meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Anatoly Zlenko to impress upon the President of Ukraine the importance of exonerating himself as soon as possible in order to provide Ukraine with strong and scandal-free leadership. Under no circumstances, however, can this be done at the expense of the rule of law, human rights and freedom of the press. By way of being helpful, Canada might offer to forge an independent international inquiry into Mr. Gongadze's death and the tapes with a prominent Ukrainian Canadian, like the former Premier of Saskatchewan Mr. Roy Romanow, in the lead.
At the same time Canada needs to reinforce its ongoing quest for better relations with Ukraine; a central building block of our foreign policy in the context of global peace and security. In the coming weeks we will be bringing forward some proposals that will, in our view, contribute to strengthening such relations and make a very real contribution to advancing the energies of Ukraine's leaders towards the good government of its people.
We hope that you will consider raising these matters and look forward to hearing the outcome of your deliberations.
With warm regards,
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Federation